Title: Monitoring restoration progress around Hellisheiði, a low alpine environment in South-West Iceland

Final project
Year of publication:
Document URL: Link
Supervisors: Kristin Svavarsdottir
restoration, monitoring, vegetation cover


Monitoring is essential for evaluating achievement of restoration goals and should be an integral part of any restoration project. The aim of the current study was to monitor the progress of restoration activities at two sites previously mined for gravel in south-west Iceland. Two types of inputs had been applied for restoration purposes: moss branches were spread at a crater and turfs transplanted onto a vehicle track. For the moss input, eight transects (four treated and four controls) were sampled. Quadrates of 50 x 50 cm in size were randomly placed along each transect and the frequency of mosses was determined for each quadrate. Moss and vascular plant cover was visually estimated in each quadrate. For the turf input, photographs were compared for visual changes that may have occurred since the transplanting of turfs. The percentage frequencies of all moss species/groups, apart from “other mosses” were significantly higher at the treated than the untreated site, while only the Racomitrium species were higher in cover. Racomitrium lanuginosum was the targeted species for the moss spreading and therefore expected to be more abundant in the treated area. There was no significant difference in vascular plant cover and species richness between the two sites. This was attributed to three quadrates in the control that had unusually high vascular plant cover and species richness. All mosses apart from R. lanuginosum increased in frequency between 2009 and 2013. R. eriocoides/R. canascens cover increased significantly over that period. Thus, moss abundance had increase since the spreading of moss branches five years earlier. A comparison of photographs taken prior and after turfs had been transplanted, suggested that vegetation cover on the track had increased. This study highlights the need of monitoring procedures at all stages of ecological restoration activities.

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